Activities and Lesson Plans

Cover-Beach Tidings

Related 4th Grade TEKS


4.13A: Probability and statistics. The student solves problems by collecting, organizing, displaying, and interpreting sets of data. The student is expected to: (A) use concrete objects or pictures to make generalizations about determining all possible combinations of a given set of data or of objects in a problem situation.

4.14 C, D: Underlying processes and mathematical tools. The student applies Grade 4 mathematics to solve problems connected to everyday experiences and activities in and outside of school. The student is expected to: (C) select or develop an appropriate problem-solving plan or strategy, including drawing a picture, looking for a pattern, systematic guessing and checking, acting it out, making a table, working a simpler problem, or working backwards to solve a problem; and (D) use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

4.15 A: Underlying processes and mathematical tools. The student communicates about Grade 4 mathematics using informal language. The student is expected to: (A) explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

4.16 A: Underlying processes and mathematical tools. The student uses logical reasoning. The student is expected to: (A) make generalizations from patterns or sets of examples and nonexamples.

Language Arts

16 B: Writing/Literary Texts. Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Students are expected to: (B) write poems that convey sensory details using the conventions of poetry (e.g., rhyme, meter, patterns of verse).


7 B: Earth and space. The students know that Earth consists of useful resources and its surface is constantly changing. The student is expected to: (B) observe and identify slow changes to Earth's surface caused by weathering, erosion, and deposition from water, wind, and ice.

8 A, B, C: Earth and space. The student knows that there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among the Sun, Earth, and Moon system. The student is expected to: (A) measure and record changes in weather and make predictions using weather maps, weather symbols, and a map key; (B) describe and illustrate the continuous movement of water above and on the surface of Earth through the water cycle and explain the role of the Sun as a major source of energy in this process; and (C) collect and analyze data to identify sequences and predict patterns of change in shadows, tides, seasons, and the observable appearance of the Moon over time.

10 A: Organisms and environments. The student knows that organisms undergo similar life processes and have structures that help them survive within their environment. The student is expected to: (A) explore how adaptations enable organisms to survive in their environment such as comparing birds' beaks and leaves on plants.

Social Studies

4.6 B: Geography. The student uses geographic tools to collect, analyze, and interpret data. The student is expected to: (B) translate geographic data into a variety of formats such as raw data to graphs and maps.

4.7 B, C: Geography. The student understands the concept of regions. The student is expected to: (B) describe a variety of regions in Texas and the Western Hemisphere such as landform, climate, and vegetation regions that result from physical characteristics; and (C) compare the regions of Texas with regions of the United States and other parts of the world.

4.9 C: Geography. The student understands how people adapt to and modify their environment. The student is expected to: (C) analyze the consequences of human modification of the environment in Texas, past and present.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are tides? What causes them? Name the two types of tides that occur every day in oceans all over the world.
  2. What is the Gulf of Mexico? Where are all our Texas beaches located? What's the difference between the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coast?
  3. What does "beachcombing" mean? Have you ever gone beachcombing?
  4. Tell what you learned about some of the animals that live along our Texas beaches. Do they have any special adaptations? What were your favorites? Why?
  5. What are sand dunes and why are they important? How does nature create them? What is erosion and how does it affect sand dunes?
  6. What is sargassum and why is it important for the critters that live on our Texas beaches?
  7. Which special Texas place would you want to go to for some wiggling in the waves? What would you do there besides building a sandcastle?
  8. CHALLENGE QUESTION: Do you think we should clean that "ugly" seaweed that washes up from the ocean off the shore? Why or why not?

Tidal Tongue Twisters

Remember that tongue twister, "Sally sells seashells by the seashore?" Well, now it's your turn to create three (3) of your own tongue twisters using the critters you just learned about that live on our own seashore. Visit for a few more directions.

Beachcomb for Trash

Do you like treasure hunting along the shore and discovering what the waves washed in? Sure you do because beachcombing can be a blast! The next time you go beachcombing for cool stuff, bring along a reusable bag and beachcomb for bummer stuff, too, like trash. Not only will it help keep our Texas beaches beautiful, but the critters that call the sand and dunes home will thank you!

Sandy Combinations!

It's a beautiful day at Sea Rim State Park and you're going to chill out by the sand dunes while you eat your lunch. But, there are lots of choices!


Three (3) sand dunes have spotted ground squirrels and morning glories.

Three (3) sand dunes have keeled earless lizards and sea oats.


One (1) peanut butter and jelly sandwich

One (1) bologna and cheese sandwich

You need to decide which lunch to eat and which sand dune to sit by while you eat it. How many choices do you have? (How many combinations are there?)

What Are Tides?

TEACHERS! THIS ONE’S FOR YOU: Educator Bonnie Glasgold has created an in-depth lesson that discusses the topic of tides, including the subjects of Spring and Neap tides. This is a great way to incorporate the patterns of nature themes that need to be taught at the elementary-school level.


Log the Tides During Hurricane Season

Is there a pattern between hurricanes and the tides? Find out! Hurricane season begins June 1st and goes to November 30th. During as much of that time as you can, log the times of high tide and low tide one day each week for one of our Texas beach locations. When hurricane season is over, graph your data and look for a pattern. Did hurricanes occur in or near Texas before, after, or during times of special tide activities? Go to this site for your tide times:

Sand Dunes – Not Just for Beaches!

Not all sand dunes are on the beach. Noper dopers! Check out this video created by TPWD about Monahans Sandhills State Park. These very special sand dunes in West Texas are a looooong way from the beach:

The BBC also has a very cool video about a special kind of sand dune called a "barkhan" (also spelled "barchan") at: The video is about 4 minutes long and will teach you about the animals that have evolved to survive in these harsh dune environments. Barkhan dunes are often so big they create their own wind patterns!